Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Head Down, Nose to the Grindstone

I haven't dropped out of Blogland altogether. I'm just using my healthy times and energies to move the wedding quilt along. Progress has been made but I don't think I'm going to have it finished in time for the day of the wedding. That has been a fantasy from the beginning because the wedding day is so close to the time I learned of the engagement. Now I'm being forced to admit probable defeat. Oh well. It will get there when it gets there and hopefully the newlyweds will enjoy my efforts. It's going to be a one-of-a-kind quilt, that much is certain. A Magpie Sue Original without question!

I began by making stars to go around the top half of a digital print:

This is by no means where the stars will end up. I'm just turning fussy-cut 4" patches into 8" sawtooth stars and sticking them on the design wall.

Then there will be this embroidery:

I haven't quite figured out how to incorporate it. There's a whole section through the middle of the quilt that hasn't been resolved in my mind yet.

I have a bottom row nearly complete but there's no point trying to show it because it's in such light tones I don't think I can do it justice in a photograph.

Most recently I've been making these log cabin blocks around smaller fussy-cut patches.

The idea was to balance the castle panel with the log cabin blocks. I didn't realize how much I had to build up the panel to make it fit. I'm going to have to come up with multiple framing strips or something instead of simply bordering the panel with one or two prints as I originally thought.

All of the fussy cut patches are intended to reflect the various interests or experiences of the bride and groom. Part of the fun has been in collecting appropriate prints. When I saw the discrepancy between the log cabin blocks and the castle panel (meant to represent Hogwarts, the school for wizards from the Harry Potter novels) I sort of got stuck. The best remedy for that kind of obstacle? More fabric of course!

Hopefully these will help me figure out how to proceed. Once I get the individual sections assembled building the quilt top should be a piece of cake. Just don't expect to see me anywhere else in Blogland for a while!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Scrap Happy in March

First of all, I haven't had a chance to get around to see all the needlework that's been taking place over the last three weeks (previous post). I trust the artists will forgive me. Aside from the embroidery I've been doing there hasn't been a lot of activity here in The Magpie's Nest. I spent about four solid days in the world of fiction (The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins and a couple of Puzzle Lady mysteries by Parnell Hall). That's about as close to a vacation as I get these days. Consequently I've only made three Scrap Happy blocks, and those only in the last 24 hours! That's okay though, there's no rush for these blocks.

The sailboats and bear's paw were bonus blocks assembled between seams (i.e. leaders and enders). Not just while I sewed up the scrappy trip blocks; I have also begun to make blocks for the wedding quilt (finally!). I won't show you those yet, but this is what has been on the design wall:

The scrappy trip blocks are what I'm making for the monthly ScrapHappyDay link up with Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden and whoever else wants to play along. There will no doubt be lots of fun scrappy projects to see, I invite you to pop over and have a look. :- )

Saturday, March 11, 2017

SAL in March

So apparently after that burst of productivity at the end of February I needed a break! There hasn't been a lot of piecing yet but I have made significant progress on the Loving Moonlight embroidery.

Of course you always have to begin at the beginning.

This design is composed of nearly all straight stitches. At this stage you can see I put in a few French knots, probably because I had enough thread in the needle to do the job at the time. ;- )

Eventually I got all the leaves on the trees and the couple sitting on the bench.

Now all that remains are some flower stems and heads and a handful of additional stars. I might have to add a bit more to that smaller tree on the left hand side since I'm planning to use this as a 6" square in the wedding quilt and not frame it in an embroidery hoop as shown on the pattern package. It might look odd left the way it is. I think I can leave the trunk implied, not completed, on the right hand side.

This is just about all I've worked on since the last SAL post. Literally. I hope to get to work on the blocks for the wedding quilt very soon. Time is running out if I want to get the quilt to the bridal couple for the wedding reception!

To see what everyone else has been working on for the last three weeks you should be able to simply click on their names below. We'll be back again on 2 April. :- )

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ad Hoc Invitational

On a recent explore in Blogland I came across Fret Not Yourself and the invitation to link up our utility or improv quilts. The focus for the first quarter of 2017 is a quilt design traditionally known as Chinese Coins. This quilt I made for my FIL is a pretty good representation of that type of quilt.

You'll notice the body of the quilt is composed of columns of short strips of various prints separated by narrow vertical sashing. In this case I interrupted the stacks of coins with pre-printed panels that relate to his areas of interest. That would be the improv part of this particular quilt. ;- )

The quilt I've been working on lately is another version of Chinese Coins. It began as a potential medallion style quilt but after visiting Ann's blog I was inspired to make it a vertical strippy quilt. You can read about the beginning of the process in this post. The central column of the quilt top was built in more of a row-by-row style.

But that could be considered really large Chinese coins! The side columns more closely resemble the Chinese coins concept in that the blocks are stacked on top of each other directly. There are a couple of compensating strips inserted over the length of the columns but they aren't technically sashing like you would find in a traditional grid style quilt.

I have since added the vertical strips to separate my three columns in this quilt top.

I've used the same text print for outer borders too. You may notice that the inner sashes are wider than the outside borders. That's the opposite of what I thought I would do as I considered the layout of this quilt top. But when I realized that the central column would fit squarely on top of a twin mattress with about 1.5" of sashing showing on either side I decided to treat the two side columns (and their sashing) as the drop down the sides of the quilt on the bed. By putting 3.5" between the central column and the side columns there will be 2" of the text print showing on either side of the side columns when the quilt is on the bed. That makes me happy. :- )

Here's the completed top, turned horizontally. All I have to do now is make a back!

I'm linking this effort up with the other improv and utility quilters over on Ann's blog. I still want to make at least one more version of an improv Chinese coins quilt top but I doubt that will come to pass during this first quarter of the year. I have too many other irons in the fire for the next couple of months!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Bee, Myself and I in February

Last month I announced that I was starting yet another set of blocks but this time strictly for myself. This is in conjunction with Carla's resolve to make something for herself, something that she's wanted to make but could find no other reason to pursue the project. She created the Bee, Myself and I selfish sewing circle as a way to make her commitment firm. To that end I began making Scrappy Trip blocks in my favorite colors, in batiks. In January I made these two:

I was a bit more ambitious in February.

I started with the pink blocks but then couldn't resist the urge to make the orange-y one to fill in the empty spot on the design wall! I'm planning for 20 blocks overall, mostly in the yellow-orange-pink range. I think I'm actually going to need a bit more yellow before I'm done! I haven't gone to the length of deciding how many blocks to make in each color or how many to make each month. For the time being I'm just playing it by ear. There's no rush, no deadline, for this project. It just provides a pleasant change from projects that may be more pressing or challenging (like the wedding quilt coming up!).

Next month I suspect you will see some truly orange blocks. Or maybe there will be more pink - you never know. ;- )